The Washington Post’s original three-part, in-depth look at the use and abuse of police civil asset forfeiture seems to have transformed into an open-ended, ongoing series. Over the weekend they posted a sixth installment exploring grabby police departments taking their citizens’ cash and belongings.
This time they kept it local, noticing that Washington, D.C.’s, police are actually attempting to plan in its budget for asset forfeiture proceeds in advance. This is considered a no-no for any law enforcement agency participating in the Department of Justice’s Equitable Sharing Program, the program where the feds and local enforcement agencies team up, and the local police get to keep 80 percent of whatever’s seized. This planning came to light to the Post last week because members of D.C.’s Council are attempting to overhaul the city’s asset forfeiture guidelines to increase the threshold of proof and requiring all asset seizures—including the ones that come from the DOJ program—to be placed in D.C.’s general fund, rather than the police’s budget, thus seriously reducing the police’s incentives for snatching whatever they can.
And just look at what they’ve snatched: